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Bass Books

Concept: Drums and Bass – For Tomorrow’s Rhythm Section

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Bass players… find a drummer and stop working on that book by yourself in your bedroom!

The first thing which instantly grabs you about Concept: Drums and Bass – For Tomorrow’s Rhythm Section is that it is written for two people, a drummer AND a bass player. Written by Paul A Francis, (who has a very busy playing and academic career) this book hones in on playing challenging for both instruments, and then giving you the freedom in certain areas to expand on your own creativity. The other advantage it offers is you can practice these tracks by yourself; it is not essential to pair up with a drummer. To maximize what you get from the book, it is a good idea to try and get these jammed with a partner.

The book highlights exactly what it wants to offer you in the beginning ‘this book does not propose to teach you something you do not know’ he aims to help you do the following:

1) Put it in the pocket

2) Hold it down

3) Style it out

These are 3 key areas we all work on as a rhythm section, trying to use the idea of all 3 at once (pulling it in and out, understanding and internalizing the style as well as holding back when it feels right) can be hard to practice effectively. This is a great book for developing these ideas in a constructive and interesting way.

The styles of the 6 pieces are musically mature, fusion, Afro jazz, slap, Latin, folk (with a twist) and New Orleans. Even if none of these genres seem to interest you, the lines and the way the pieces are constructed are great benefit to you creativity across 4/8/16/32 bars. The font is jazz, which gives it a more casual feel and also doesn’t make it seem as prescribed, like you would expect.

Executed well, is the books ability level for both instruments. This does not having one instrument holding down the groove while the other just shreds/solos/experiments. There’s enough space for both parties to show they can hold down the groove and improvise. It is constructed so that both instruments are almost syncopated in parts, and free in others. It creates a ‘conversation’ and can spark a lot of creative ideas, as well as improve your chops and various techniques.

As bass players, our musical journey is never ending. There is always something to explore or just one more thing we need to work on. As we start progressing down this road, the options for learning materials becomes more and self dependent, this book however, is stated at being for level 6, so post graduate study. However even if you have no form of study, but you are very confident in your ability and fancy a challenge, then this is the book for you.

Players such as Slash, preach the idea that you get a lot better by playing with other musicians as opposed to yourself. This book is definitely a step in that direction and the promotion of Academic books encouraging you to work with other people is a great welcome.

Buy Concept: Drums and Bass from Amazon, or for the best price, direct from Paul’s webpage. It is also available in PDF format.

Bass Books

Ultimate Look at Electric Basses from 1930 to Today

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The Bass Space: Profiles of Classic Electric Basses.

The definitive book for lovers of the low-end. Willie G. Moseley, Senior Writer for Vintage Guitar Magazine, profiles more than 100 historic and unique electric bass models from such makers as Alembic, Danelectro, Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Guild, Hamer, Kramer, Rickenbacker, and many others.

Rare and legendary instruments, from the earliest attempts at amplified basses in the mid-1930s to the cutting-edge instruments of today, are presented in more than 250 color and period photos.

The main feature of this book is the exclusive coverage of historic and one-of-a-kind basses owned and played by such famed musicians as: Bill Black (Elvis Presley), Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge), Mark Egan (Pat Metheny Group), John Entwistle (The Who), Paul Goddard (Atlanta Rhythm Section), Bruce Hall (REO Speedwagon), Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Benjamin Orr (The Cars), Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick), Carl Radle (Derek and the Dominos), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Steve Wariner, and others.

The Bass Space: Profiles of Classic Electric Basses is available online at Amazon.com

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Bass Books

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

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Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

I was intrigued when The Bastard Instrument showed up on my desk… let’s dig in!

When we dive into the history of our beloved instrument, the bass, we find roots that go back as far as the 15th century. This instrument was a member of the violin family and was for the longest time, an acoustic instrument. As the years passed and music changed, there was a need for the instrument to evolve and the electric bass was born.

Comparatively, the electric bass is a relatively new instrument with its earliest appearances dating back to the 1930s and it is exciting to be an electric bass player while this history unfolds around us. Fortunately for us and future generations to come, Professor Brian F. Wright has taken on the herculean task of documenting the trajectory of the electric bass with this excellent book.

The Bastard Instrument presents an extraordinary amount of fine details about the instrument itself, the development of the amplification to handle its output, the pioneers that dared play it, the rapidly evolving music that flourished because of its presence and so much more. 

When I first started reading this book, I noticed that it felt a tad academic, like a textbook (it might be one someday) or a doctoral thesis, but to present all this information accurately, this approach is more than appropriate. Another detail that might be a bit of a spoiler is that the book only gets us up to the late ’60s. I was left wanting more as we know that so much has happened in the bass world since that time frame; I hope there is another volume in the works to get us up to the present!

All in all, “The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass” is a must-read for all of us who play electric bass and understand its essential place in music.

I found that there was a lot that I already knew but also quite a bit that I was unaware of. I believe that to know and understand where you are, you must know the history of exactly how you got here.

Highly recommended.

The Bastard Instrument is available at Amazon.com (beginning July 2024)

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Bass Books

Review: The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health

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Review: The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention and Better Health

I have often thought that it would be great if the doctors who delivered us as newborn babies provided us with a user manual to help us navigate through life in the best way possible. Now Dr. Randall Kertz, D.C. has produced a manual specifically designed to address the many possible afflictions plaguing us bass players.

Many of you will remember volumes 1 & 2 of this book and our first review in 2007. The new complete guide combines the two volumes and features over 20 pages of new material including interviews, techniques, and conditions.

If you play bass, you can read this book cover to cover and walk away with a ton of relevant and helpful knowledge. Another option is to search out issues relevant to you specifically (I found quite a few of my own with helpful options). This is possible because the book is very nicely organized into six chapters that address Pain, Conditions, Techniques, Road Issues, Inspirational Q&A with some of the biggest names in the bass community (too many to list here) and finally How to get relief.

All said, this book is essential if you play either electric or upright bass to the point where they should issue you one when you get that first bass in your hands.

Lastly,  if you have this book and you have specific questions, Dr. Kertz is readily available through his website, www.drkertz.com. As if that was not enough, he has a wealth of knowledge you can find right here on our website at bassmusicianmagazine.com/author/randallkertz

Get this book… Live long and play bass well into the years! Available on Amazon.com

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Bass Books

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

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The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health

The Bassist’s Complete Guide to Injury Management, Prevention & Better Health is now available!

A compilation of Volumes 1 & 2 of the acclaimed Bassist’s Guide with 20+ pages of new interviews, techniques, and conditions, The Complete Guide puts everything in one convenient place.

Available at Amazon.com and from our friends at Bassline Publishing

Follow Dr. Kertz’s Bass Player Health at Bass Musician Magazine

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Bass Books

Music Book: 365 Days of Practice

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Music Book: 365 Days of Practice
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365 Days of Practice…

365 Days of Practice is a unique guide on how to deepen your practice routine from one of the masters of contemporary jazz! This book is the result of a project by Rick Margitza in which he posted an idea online every day during the year 2020.

The exercises cover a broad spectrum of musical ideas that range from basic bebop language to its transformation into contemporary jazz. See sample pages below.

The lines are often totally unique and will enlarge your melodic pallette considerably!

Includes an extensive introductory chapter outlining Rick’s practice method, learned from Gary Campbell, who was also Michael Brecker’s teacher.

The book also includes access to audio files for each example that Rick created and plays along with. Very helpful for ingraining the sounds of these exercises in your musical memory!

365 Days of Practice can be used by musicians of all levels, on any instrument. 171 pages. Spiral-bound. Don’t miss it!

“Rick Margitza’s 365 Days of Practice is a masterpiece! It lays out the fundamentals in such a clear fashion and adds a little spice to it as well. If you are looking for concepts and music to practice to expand your horizons as well as your vocabulary, this book will be your friend for life. Thank You, Rick!”— Jerry Bergonzi

“His new book: 365 Days of Practice by the great saxophonist Rick Margitza, explains in depth his methodology for expanding one’s Jazz Vocabulary. There are not only 365 audio play-along examples, but also the clearest, most concise and to the point explanation of this daily method of practice, and it’s genesis, that I’ve yet seen. So please avail yourself this unique learning opportunity, and check out this book!”— Randy Brecker

“Rick Margitza is a wonderful saxophonist with a unique sound and approach. He has laid out a year’s worth of daily practice exercises that pinpoint various areas of focus in the art of compositional improvising. This is a fascinating book. I look forward to absorbing the contents!”— Bob Mintzer

365 Days of Practice is available at Amazon.com

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